How to cook okra without the slime?

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How to cook okra without the slime?

Postby Burgess » Mon Dec 25, 2006 7:25 pm

I would very much like to add a high-fiber veg to my limited diet. (As I explain here http://www.aristotleadventure.com/anti-itis/ I don't eat beans, peas, or any grains except white rice.)

Okra fits the bill. Unfortunately, I have not been able to figure out a way to cook it without it looking repulsive (to me). What I most want to do is to be able to add okra to steamed white rice (which of course has no significant fiber).

Inexpensive okra is available year-round, for me, only in sliced form, frozen.

I have tried steaming, boiling, and simmering. Nothing seems to work. Cooking in lemon juice or salsa or similar things seems to help, but doesn't really solve the problem.

Suggestions?

P. S. -- I did try a search on this site but found nothing.
Burgess Laughlin, Star McDougaller
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Postby Sher » Mon Dec 25, 2006 8:50 pm

Hi Burgess,

I'm not sure if these ideas would work or appeal to you. ONE way here in the south that okra is not slimy is FRIED--the standard way is not an option, of course, but I wonder if you could substitute white rice flour for the coating, and bake them?

I wonder if you cooked the sliced okra WITH the rice, if it would absorb some of the moisture ("slime") of the okra?

I'm not sure if you eat tomatoes; I did a quick scan but managed to miss any mention of them. If you CAN, okra is a wonderful ingredient in soups--I always think of gumbo! Some sort of veggie gumbo would be good, either with white rice in the mix, or a thick gumbo, served over a mound of rice.

Do you have problems with vinegar? Pickled okra is quite good, too.

I've never said, but you are such an inspiration. I admire how you have met your challenges, and not given up.

Sher
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Postby Burgess » Mon Dec 25, 2006 10:08 pm

Sher wrote:[...] ONE way here in the south [...]

Yes, I remember that my mother (this was in Houston) used okra and tomatoes without problems when she baked porkchops. I don't remember exactly how she handled the ingredients.

[...] that okra is not slimy is FRIED--the standard way is not an option, of course, [...]

Well, maybe it is. I lost so much weight on the McDougall program that Dr. McDougall suggested I add small amounts of oil and sugar to keep my weight from sinking even further.

[...] but I wonder if you could substitute white rice flour for the coating, and bake them?

Except for the white rice, which is the least acid-producing of all the grains, I use no grains at all -- which means no flour from wheat. However, I just bought a bag of tapioca flour (which I use to thicken canned pumpkin for a pudding). I might try that.

Should I (1) thaw the okra, (2) sprinkle the tapioca flour over both sides and all around them, and then (3) place the floured slices on a metal sheet? Should I bake them for maybe 30 minutes at 350 degrees. I suspect the frozen ones, like most frozen vegs, are already partly cooked, so baking wouldn't take long -- just long enough to cook the flour and dry the okra out, I suppose.

I wonder if you cooked the sliced okra WITH the rice, if it would absorb some of the moisture ("slime") of the okra?

That's an idea. Should I try placing the dry rice and the frozen okra in the water and then turn on the heat? (I have a rice cooker with a pan for the rice and a tray above it for vegs or a small bowl of soup to warm.)

If you CAN, okra is a wonderful ingredient in soups--I always think of gumbo! Some sort of veggie gumbo would be good, either with white rice in the mix, or a thick gumbo, served over a mound of rice.

I can eat any fruit, any vegetable, and any root and gourd. So, yes, that's a good idea. I will look for veg gumbo recipes that include okra. Do tomatoes "cut" the sliminess of the okra? I guess that is why you suggested vinegar too.

Pickled okra is quite good, too.

Yes, but the whole, bottled kind is very expensive for the quantities I would want to eat -- a cup or two per day, most days. I wonder what would happen to sliced okra if it was pickled at home?

I've never said, but you are such an inspiration. I admire how you have met your challenges, and not given up.

Thank you. I always assumed that poor health is not an acceptable option and that I am responsible for my conditions to a great extent.

Thank you for your many suggestions. I have learned to enjoy experimenting. Now I have lots of new things to try.

Best to you,
Burgess Laughlin, Star McDougaller
My books: http://www.reasonversusmysticism.com
My health weblog: http://anti-itisdiet.blogspot.com
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Postby Grateful » Tue Dec 26, 2006 12:40 am

Do you have a grill-type appliance? I have a George Forman and it doesn't get slimy. I do spray the grill with a little bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking. The other day I added it to vegetable soup and it didn't seem to get slimy. But, it was only heated a few minutes.
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Postby Doris » Tue Dec 26, 2006 6:35 am

Burgess, this is the way I cook okra. It is never slimy. I spray my large cast iron skillet with Pam. Then I wipe off any excess. Let the skillet get really hot before you add the sliced okra. Don't crowd the okra, a single layer is best. Let the okra brown on one side, then stir. Keep stirring every few minutes. I then turn the heat to medium high, add salt and pepper. Keep stirring every so often until done. The skillet should be dry. At this point the okra is ready to serve plain. Or now is the time to add tomatoes, and or corn to the mix if desired. Cook until done. This is a comfort food for me. Hope this helps. :)
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Postby Burgess » Tue Dec 26, 2006 7:00 am

Sher, Grateful, and Doris,

Thank you, I think I have plenty of ideas now for experimenting. The common denominator seems to be to seal the sliced okra, either with a flour and dry frying or dry-frying without a flour.

I have begun thinking about buying either a small, flat-bottom wok (I cook only for myself, on an electric range) or a stir-fry skillet, either, but with a lid so that I can add things after the dry-frying is done, and then steam-cook the whole collection. (I say "dry," but I would probably use a little oil just to coat the pan.)

I am generally reluctant to add more things to my kitchen (I live in a very small apartment and I want to live as simply as possible), but a wok or skillet sounds like a versatile tool for handling things like okra.

Thank you, again.
Burgess Laughlin, Star McDougaller
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Postby Sandie » Tue Dec 26, 2006 7:32 am

Burgess wrote:...I think I have plenty of ideas now for experimenting. The common denominator seems to be to seal the sliced okra, either with a flour and dry frying or dry-frying without a flour.

Thank you Burgess, for asking about okra ~ it is the one and only vegetable that I will not eat (due to the slime). I've purchased it over the years for my papermaking and always try to cook a little but can never get beyond the slime! Ugh! :-(

Now that you've asked about it, I also see a different way to experiment (I've tried steaming, boiling & simmering, too. Yuck! :P ). I will have to try it again (with the new suggestions) as I am determined to not let this little veggie get the better of me! :D
Have a great day!!
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Postby slugmom » Tue Dec 26, 2006 9:36 am

okra is like flax seed in that the fiber in it is a mucilaginous fiber, so it is more likely to seem slippery/slimy than other plants.

I hope some of your experiments give you a palatable form, but keep in mind that it is in it's nature to be more mucilaginous.

:)
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Postby DianeR » Tue Dec 26, 2006 9:41 am

I love Bhindi Masala. You can certainly serve that over white rice!

I know that the recipes in Indian restaurants have fat in them. You can probably find any number of such recipes by googling.

I recently saw a nonfat recipe for this. http://vegsource.com/marla/bhindi_masala.html

I haven't tried this one, but it does have the advantage of using frozen okra, which is what you say you have available to you.

Now I'm anxious to try this, but I think it will have to wait until my son goes back to college. I can't even get him to try a bite of the dish in a restaurant.
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Success at last!

Postby Burgess » Sun Dec 31, 2006 8:12 am

After trying various ways to fix okra, I finally found a solution, one suggested earlier: cook okra with tomatoes.

However, I not only wanted a slime-free result, but I wanted simplicity in preparation. Here is what I did:

Two 28 ounce cans of stewed tomatoes.
Flavorings (I used garlic, onions [dry, minced], basil).
3 C frozen okra.
1/2 C lemon juice

I got the toms and flavorings boiling lightly and then poured in the sliced, frozen okra; simmered for half an hour. No slime problem at the end.

Apparently the lemon juice and the toms "cut" the slime.

Suggestion: I poured off all the liquid and stored it separately. (It makes a delicious thin soup.) The remaining toms and okra (which are still very moist) I use as a topping for rice, a topping that doesn't drown the already cooked rice.

I plan to make large batches and then freeze them in serving-size containers.

I see in looking at the preceding post, just now, that the bhindi masala is very close to what I did, except I can't use those flavorings unfortunately, and my concoction is very soupy until the liquid is poured off at the end.

Thanks to DianeR, Sher, and everyone!
Burgess Laughlin, Star McDougaller
My books: http://www.reasonversusmysticism.com
My health weblog: http://anti-itisdiet.blogspot.com
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Postby Karen » Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:14 am

Of course, the best way to eat okra is in a soup. Then you don't notice the slime.

And I second the Bhindi recommendation. It is one of my favourite meals.
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Postby Sher » Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:19 am

That's great! :-D I'm glad you were able to develop another dish to add to your food plan!

Sher
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Cauliflower?

Postby AnnaS » Sun Dec 31, 2006 4:36 pm

For variety, cauliflower is very nice with this combination also.
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diagnosed with lyme disease March 2010

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Postby Doris » Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:38 am

Burgess, there is an okra recipe you may be interested in at fatfreevegan.com. Susan V's recipe of the week is Roasted Okra. I plan to give it a try when I find some small, fresh okra. :)
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Postby Puddy » Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:46 am

There must be something wrong with me. I love okra and its slime. :D
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